Slim Twig | Sof’ Sike (Paper Bag)

cd slim-twigThe album deserves appreciation and reflection rather than merely being taken at face value.

Dirty Projectors, Gang Gang Dance…and Slim Twig? Maybe not, but Slim Twig is experimental, for sure. Relatively unknown, but still more than worthy of a look if you haven’t heard of him, Slim Twig is basically a Canadian performer, producer, actor, songwriter who has built quite a reputation as an artist.

In 2009, he released his first full-length record, Contempt, on Paper Bag Records, mostly a compilation of sound samples with vocals laid on top. Think Panda Bear, but less orchestrated. Sof’ Sike takes a very different direction. It seems like an experimental take on a pop album, or maybe just an artistic interpretation of what rock ’n’ roll should be: a throwback to sounds from the ’60s with a modern twist, like a remake of a Hitchcock film that would feature Luke Wilson—because he can be serious yet odd, but people also really like him.

By far my favorite track on the album is “Gun Shy,” which sounds like Wavves if Nathan was more concerned with writing songs than smoking pot and being hip. It has a nice jangly chord progression with simplistic lyrics and minimal effects that keep the track fresh and perfect for a summer mix tape. Following “Gun Shy” is another gem, “Madeline Has a Body.” With keys that sound like something The Zombies would have laid down years ago, the track is bright, poppy, and easy to listen to. The vocals play more to me as instrumentation than anything else. The lyrics seems unimportant; although they tell a story, they fit all too well into the overall sound to be separated and thought of as anything but aesthetic.

Later in the album, “Priscilla” starts with handclaps, then keys, and then the vocals come in. It sounds like something Lou Reed wishes he could create in the modern age. A little eerie, the vibrato on the vocals is a minor touch that adds more to the overall feel of the track than one would imagine. The female backing vocals also are a welcome addition on the track, adding another vintage feel.

While the album is not the easiest to listen to on first sitting, I don’t think that it was meant to be. It feels much more like something that deserves appreciation and some reflection than something that should just be taken at face value. Like the guitar solo on “I’ll Always Be a Child,” it screeches and screams. Almost like nails on a chalkboard, the solo stands apart from the rest of the track, which is smooth and easy to digest. It is there for a very specific reason, one that a single listen might not make clear.

Each time I listen to this record, I enjoy it more and more; it is quickly becoming a mainstay on my work playlist. If you want something that doesn’t sound like 20 other bands that are “current,” then I would say give Slim Twig’s Sof’ Sike a try. I love this record and don’t think I am going to be putting it away any time soon. | Alex Hodschayan

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